The Boston Bruins made Jake DeBrusk a healthy scratch again over the weekend, and it appears as though there is finally a split coming between the two sides. Ryan Rishaug of TSN confirmed with DeBrusk’s agent that he has requested a trade out of Boston, and Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet notes that the two are working to find him a fresh start.
DeBrusk, 25, is one of the infamous three first-round draft picks the Bruins made in 2015 and for quite some time, was regarded as the only one that had “worked out.” While Jakub Zboril and Zachary Senyshyn toiled in the minor leagues, DeBrusk was playing in the NHL, recording 62 goals over his first three seasons in the league.
Those numbers have dropped considerably since the start of 2020-21 though, with just eight goals and 20 points in 58 games over the last two seasons. With that decreased production the winger has also found inconsistent playing time, moving up and down the lineup.
On the second season of a two-year, $7.35MM ($4.675MM AAV) deal signed in November 2020, DeBrusk can become a restricted free agent once again next summer. It’s just a “could” because whatever team owns his rights at that point would need to issue him a $4.41MM qualifying offer just to retain them as an RFA. That’s certainly not a slam dunk given the way he’s played recently, especially when it would also come with the risk of arbitration.
Still, it’s easy to see how a team would think they can squeeze a top-six player out of DeBrusk. He has all the skills to score at a high level, as shown by his 27-goal season in 2018-19, he can be a physical presence when he wants to be, and there’s powerplay upside if deployed properly. If the asking price isn’t prohibitive, both contending teams and those that are rebuilding could be interested in the winger.
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